Hello, i have seen many instructables on what you can do with zippos, but i have not seen a comp-lete guide where the author lists what you should and shouldn't do with a zippo lighter.

In this instructable I will tell you what you should and should not do with a zippo lighter.

please excuse the lack of pictures,but i will post them if i feel they are needed.

Step 1: The History of the Zippo Lighter

Picture of The History of the Zippo Lighter

George G. Blaisdell invented the Zippo lighter in 1932, and got his idea after discovering a large and bulky Austrian made pocket lighter. Blaisdell was an oil engineer who saw a audience for a good looking lighter that would function even in windy conditions. He produced the first Zippo lighter in Bradford, Pennsylvania.he called it the ZIPPO because he liked the sound of the word "ZIPPER"

Zippos are classified as windproof lighters, and are are able to remain lighted in almost any wind situation. They were common in the United States armed forces, particularly in the second world war standard silver Zippo a military zippo lighter was standard gear for all men in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. During that period, all Zippo lighters produced went to the Allied war effort. In fact, during the conflict, since brass was needed for weapon systems, the interiors of zippos were primarily stainless steel. Following the war, Zippo reverted to the traditional brass design.

Additionally, Zippo lighters are known for the lifetime guaranty they carry: if a Zippo breaks down, no matter how old, the company will replace or repair the lighter for free.

Approx. 200,000 Zippo lighters were owned by U.S. military personnel in the Vietnam War. In one instance, a Zippo lighter transported in a shirt pocket blocked a bullet from going in a soldiers body.

these are the facts i have read from various websites. now while i did copy and paste,I ALSO READ THEM AS THOUROUGHLY(spelling?) as possible.I have confirmed their accuracy,but feel free to comment otherwise.

Step 2: Parts of the Zippo

Picture of Parts of the Zippo

look below in the pictures for the listed parts of a zippo lighter.

Step 3: What I Like/what I Don't

Picture of What I Like/what I Don't

what i like about zippo lighters:
1.the reliability
2.they are refillable
3.they can use any type of lightr fluid,although zippo brand is recommened by zippo
4.they are rewickable
5.they are reflintable
6.cost effective(inexpensive)for most models
7.they last forever
7a.i have seen many models that were made in 1932,and they still work!!!!!!!

what i don't like:
1.the fact that zippo(this is more directed at the company) only suggest zippo brand fluid,while really any fluid can work just as much.this often confuses new buyers,and causes them to be picky about what type they buy

PLEASE note:there is only one thing i don't like,and now you can avoid that problem.

Step 4: Please Note:

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i am neither bashing nor recomending any zippo related 'ible on this site.

i haven't viewed an 'ible yet that wasn't a good idea.

Step 5: Down to Buisness.....

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i will list below some do's and some dont's.

1.ripping off flint from disposable lighters.......DO
but please note that you shoud have to cut it to zippo length flint pieces(i can usually get three pieces from one bic)

2.using alternative fuel........DON'T
let me explain.i mean only use lighter fluid,.and,in an emergency,axe.please look at my other instructable for further explanation

3.buying zippos from'T
they grossly overprice thier items.

4.buying zippos from
they grossly UNDER priced and sell genuine zippos.
(my zippo that is on order right now with 10 flints and 1 wick was the same price as just the zippo on the zippo site.) also shipping was 3 dollars less

Step 6: MORE Down to Buisness...

Picture of MORE Down to Buisness...

i have seen many people do this.....

1.replacing wick once section of wick is gone......DON'T
the wick in a zipo is about 4inches once you think you need a new wick,pull at it gently with some needle nose pliers.the wick should advance.pull it to about the height of the chimney(refer PARTS OF A ZIPPO .) and cut the wick where the fresh wick starts

2.replacing a flint because it a milimeter shorter than standard size......DON'T
just because the flint is a little shorter than a new flint DOES NOT mean you have to replace it.

3.replacing the rayon balls in the bottom with cotton balls.......DO
if you lose a rayon ball,is it definitly ok to replace them with cotton balls,just go a little slower when refilling

Step 7: Basics of Zippos

Picture of Basics of Zippos

and now because i promised a complete guide to zippos,the basics.

'''reflinting''' gently pull on the chimney and the insert should come out pretty easily.there is a screw in the bottom of the insert.take it will shoot out of the tube it is placed in,so keep a tight hold on it.once the screw is out,you will notice that the screw is attached to the spring and a small brionze piec at the supposed to be that way the bronze piece is NOT the flint,dont pull on it.the flint will come out after the small piece,or if you were completely out of flint,nothing will come out.get a new piece of flint,and put it into the barrel either way,it does not matter.screw the screw back into the tube,and there you go.

'''refillling''' to refill a zippo,you will have to remove the insert,pull back the felt pad on the bottom,and this is where you squeze the fluid into what is called RAYON BALLS there is five of them inside the insert,and they are slightly more absorbent than cotton balls.what i do it tip the can of fluid and let gravity do the rest,every second or so,i tip the can into the upright positon(not leaking) and let the rayon soak up the fluid then repeat until the rayon seems to not soak anymore fluid up.then wipe the insert with a paper towel,and imediatley WASH YOUR HANDS,so as not to catch yourself on is OK if the felt pad is damp,it just means you kinda sorta overfilled it,but dont worry about it.then put the insert back into the case,and attemp to light it.dont stop if it doesn't light on the first try,just keep trying to light it.soon enough,it will light every time.

'''rewicking''' go to step 8.please

Step 8: More Advanced

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'''rewicking:'''to rewick a zippo,you will need to remove the insert,undo the screw in the bottom,remove the felt pad,and remove the rayon balls.then you pull on the wick and feed the new wick through the hole in the insert.make the new piece of wick about as high as the chimney.then continue to put the rayon balls back into the insert.try to "weave" the wick back and forth in between rayon balls.there should be five balls.


NickL175 (author)2017-08-17

Dont forget about how Zippos burn the hell outta you reight after refueling and sticking inside your pocket.

vanderberg.vanderberg (author)2014-10-18

My father has a zippo lighter from Vietnam and the bullet went right through the lighter killing a north Vietnamese solder dead in his tracks!! I'm looking at the lighter right now as we speak! This one did not stop the bullet! The guy that had this one in his shirt pocket is planted in the ground dead! It's a pretty nasty hole right through the center of the lighter and my father assured me the man that was carrying this particular lighter is dead as a door nail! Lol

I wouldn't keep that lighter if I were you. It belonged to someone that your father killed. When someone is killed under false pretenses (ex. war), the emotions run ramped and the soul is so strongly linked with emotions. That is to say, it is probably quite cursed and will bring you and your bloodline into horrible downfalls. I'm not instructing, I'm warning. Parts of the murdered man's rage could quite possibly be withheld in the lighter. Don't be so proud of something that was a prize for murder. It may already be too late for your soul; eternal hell and suffering may already be bestowed upon you. When you laugh at death, death's sinister grin awaits to be opened to devour your soul.

JeddF (author)bej.smt2016-07-18

hahahahahahaha that's the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard, religion is a lie and you believe it. Hahahahahahahahahaha

fusionstream (author)JeddF2016-10-26

Did he mention the word religion at all? Anywhere? Ignorant fool.

xaenon (author)fusionstream2017-02-27

Discussion of afterlife, hell, curses, and a soul.... in what way is that NOT religion?

Diyguy17 (author)bej.smt2016-09-09

Are you serious ???

TylerB104 (author)bej.smt2016-06-12

I just got a boner....????

HeinzH1 (author)bej.smt2015-03-20

I don't believe in your theory but I don't have any negative attitudes towards religious people because those in my life have rather been cool fruitcake type of dudes. Thats that.. but how do you theorize about the fact that.. The NV guy shouldn't have had the zippo in the first place. He probably got that from a marine. So, maybe the marines afterlife rage helped to get the NV guy the bullet? But then it did help mr. Vanderbergs father didn't it? Maybe it still continues to? I was actually searching for a way to make my Zippo blu to ignite smoother(roll smoother), like the petrol ones I have tried. It's actually igniting much better now when I switched from Ronson to Unilite something.. I don't know if it is even Butane, because it only says universal feuerzeug gas but I don't care since it lights better and I don't think I have any overheating problems given that the butane flame is 1300c anyway.

HeinzH1 (author)HeinzH12015-06-24

So. Good I refound the thread. Did I say something good about the unilite gas? Well, after a couple of refills the micture got so airy that you could extinguish flames with the zippo.. it doesn't clog like ronsons but... I hate that I just can't find any good butane around here. I wouldn't really mind to pay 50% or even 100% more than the 2.50€ that I paid for a can.

HeinzH1 (author)HeinzH12015-06-24

Have to add that, yes I do the airing occasionally. In fact I did it each time I filled with the unilite but it doesn't seem to help.

QuinnL1 (author)bej.smt2015-01-25

Ummm... lol i guess?

Javin007 (author)bej.smt2014-11-13

Wow. People like you are real. I thought that was just some kind of Hollywood thing.

DSLaBuda (author)bej.smt2014-11-11

cool story bro

It's entirely possible that a Zippo could stop a bullet, but that depends on various factors, including range, obstructions prior to the bullet reaching its target, and, most notably, how powerful ththround/gun is. I'm quite certain a Zippo couldn't stop round from an m16 but stopping round from a .22lr is certainly believeable.

MichelleR79 (author)ruleuno2016-01-03

Even a .22 slug can punch a hole through the zippo but you do have a point for the variables.

ChrisM235 (author)ruleuno2015-11-27

The Zippo stopped the bullet, but ignited the fluid and the man burned to death.

mpapa7402 (author)ruleuno2015-09-26

it also depends on the type of bullet

In the original story, the Zippo stopped the bullet, but ignited the fluid and the soldier burned to death!

Raimondas4 (author)2016-12-15

Hello i am seller . If someone need hight quality zippo fluid please contact me :

Melquisedececastillo93 (author)2016-11-12

A zippo saved my life...
It wasn't in the form of a bullet but it was from hypothermia. I was in the rocky mountains in colorado in the middle of winter. I fell of a trail n tumbled to a rivered that was covered in ice, i accidentally slid to the lake where i got wet in that freezing water.... When i got out i gathered what ever wood there was, i knew it was going to be close to impossible to start a fire, but that zippo lighter didn't go out and after minutes of just being in the bottom of the branches i set up, it finally caught fire n kept me warm.... If it wasn't for that zippo lighter i would have never made it out of there, i wouldn't have even been able to move

WayneK29 (author)2016-08-20

Hi. The way I fill my zippo is: I lift the cotton, I gently squeeze the bottle counting to 5 while moving it back and forth, then put the cotton back down. Here is suggestion, put 2 or 3 flints under the cotton. This way you won't run out kf flints if you are out and about. Wayne.

ChristopherM142 (author)2016-04-08

How long does the fuel in the zippo last when I put it in? I put some in and got it to light, but like a couple days after it wouldn't light anymore. Also, I have an odd Zippo. The flint is held in place with a pin, not a screw. And it seems like the kind that if I pull it off it won't go back on.

Schinzon (author)2016-02-22

Seems pretty complete. As a long time Zippo user I'll share that Zippo branded fuel is better than most (better meaning, easy lighting with one strike) & long lasting (it takes 4-5days to evaporate unused in pocket) changing fuel to Coleman branded Naphtha lasts more than 15days, and burns hotter. It is cheaper and less.. Scented.

Pepelepeuu (author)2014-09-01

I'd like someone to please answer me this, how do I stop the lighter fluid from evaporating in zippo and peanut style lighters? I am not a smoker but I do believe in being prepared so recently I purchased and filled a few peanut and zippo lighters to keep in my car/go & get home bags. But after less than two weeks time they have all gone empty with absolutely no use. However the bic that I found on the ground and threw in my bag 5 years ago still lights every time. So could someone please tell me the point of carrying a high maintenance unreliable item for something as important as starting a fire? Or if I'm doing something wrong please advise.

Gozzo (author)Pepelepeuu2015-11-07

Simply no fluid until you want to use it, if it didn't evaporate it wouldn't be flammable. Also I have never had a problem with non Zippo flints, just non-Zippo fluid. R-Sonic in a yellow can is by far the worst I have ever tried. Methanol from home distillation works a treat but unfortunately evaporates way to quickly.

Gordon. (author)Pepelepeuu2015-11-06

Keep the lighter empty and keep a small can of fluid to fill it when you need it. Then you always got fuel to start a fire quickly & easily! I've done this for years..

JethroC (author)Pepelepeuu2014-12-19

A Zippo is NOT a good choice for an emergency lighter, for exactly the reason you stated.
Whoever said that it was,...lied.
They are very reliable on a daily basis and will last for years.
But they are not an emergency lighter.

Get a BIC.

Anony Mous (author)Pepelepeuu2014-10-23

Get about a half inch to 2 inches of road-bicycle inner-tube and slip it over the Zippo, so it covers where the lid meets the body. Makes it very water-resistant too.

Javin007 (author)Anony Mous2014-11-13

Interesting. How long does the fuel last if you do this? I have probably 10 different zippos laying around the house (was a smoker for 20 years, and everyone thought they were a great gift). I would find myself running out of fuel so often, I just quit carrying them all together. Plus, when they are overfilled and leak into your pocket, that mild burning sensation directly next to your neithers is never fun.

DSLaBuda (author)Pepelepeuu2014-11-11

I believe Zippo's are intended to be used daily. They're reliable because of their mechanical simplicity and serviceable design. If you're looking for occasional use a disposable sealed butane lighter like you spoke of would be better.

Mishel.Unish (author)Pepelepeuu2014-10-14

If u need fire, go with Bic. Zippo is just a fancy item. You can always manage with toyota, but people still buys ferarri, right?

You didn't do anything wrong. Its supposed to be like that.

killerjackalope (author)2009-06-26

Eh, all good, apart from severe lack of decent pictures, apart from one thing, the wrong flints do burn up the wick faster, from a bic they'll be too soft and swan ones bugger up the flint wheel, not sure if it's too hard or just not as soft, but it makes a difference, because the flint wheel is a certain roughness on different lighters the right flint will make it far more reliable. Also I did do a full 'ible on reflinting and rewicking zippos and a couple on tricks, originally I used swan extra long flints, these are a nuisance as they tend to jam the wheel... for longer flints, including zippo ones you actually don't tighten it all the way until the wheel's made a groove, smoothing the top of the flint and making it turn every time you strike it, instead of jamming.

Gordon. (author)killerjackalope2015-11-06

I got a few friends that save their old Bic lighters for me. When a Bic is out of fuel the flint is still over twice as long as a new Zippo or Ronson flint. I've got over 200 Ronson and Zippo lighters in my collection and every one has the old used Bic flint in them. They're free, work great, last longer, and don't corrode and get stuck in the lighter over time like the Ronson and Zippo ones do. Over 30 yrs of using them in hundreds of lighters in my collection & never had a problem!

chadeau (author)killerjackalope2009-07-28

...ok-here's the skinny on BIC'n yer Zip-flinnts only jam if ya use the runt BIC-or if you DO NOT trim flint to stock length-read as Ronson replacement(s) Ronsons can even absorb fluids (fuel)and turn to powder in flint tube.Bics proper trim'd and size last much longer than any other flint replace I've used-ever.

imthereal (author)2009-06-27

could you call it a lever?

Gordon. (author)imthereal2015-11-06

You could call it a duck, but that don't make it a duck

zuixro (author)2009-06-26

I don't see the point of using BIC flints in a Zippo. Around here a BIC lighter is $0.99. You say you can get 3 flints out of one. Zippo flints are $0.75 for 6. Also, I'm not sure, but the warranty might not cover you if you don't use Zippo flints.

Gordon. (author)zuixro2015-11-06

You don't buy a Bic to take out the flint, you take the flint out of dead bics. They last forever too, been using them for 30+ years & never a problem..

chadeau (author)zuixro2009-07-28

...funny man to buy Bic to put flint in Zippo-I only use flints from deceasedor found dead Bics-beats yer .99 and .75-I call it recycling...

zuixro (author)zuixro2009-06-26

Plus I've seen a lot of people say that they jam up the wheel and they all around don't work well.

pyro man (author)zuixro2009-06-27

it just what people do. everyone might have direct access to zippo flints,so they tear apart a bic lighter to get some.they dont work WELL,but they do the job for about 2 hours you should notice the difference

nbarrager (author)2014-08-17

so, is it or is it not okay to use ronsonol in your zippo? that part was worded strangely

Mishel.Unish (author)nbarrager2014-10-14

"Use only genuine Zippo fluid and flints for optimal performance in Zippo lighters. Ronson branded fluid, flints and wicks purchased in the U.S.A., Canada or Mexico can also be used."


Gordon. (author)Mishel.Unish2015-11-06

You work for Zippo or sumthin?? (L0L)

NikcV (author)2015-02-23

Can't believe nobody said anything about this (At least I haven't noticed)

But you DON'T want to use other flints (like from bic lighters) on a zippo. It's not a terrible idea it's just that zippo flints are softer and create more of a spark, which makes it MUCH easier to light. Also it might make the zippo flint wheel smoother and although you can send it back to get a new insert it's going to ruin it.

Gordon. (author)NikcV2015-11-06

I got a few friends that save their old Bic lighters for me. When a Bic is out of fuel the flint is still over twice as long as a new Zippo or Ronson flint. I've got over 200 Ronson and Zippo lighters in my collection and every one has the old used Bic flint in them. They're free, work great, last longer, and don't corrode and get stuck in the lighter over time like the Ronson and Zippo ones do. Over 30 yrs of using them in hundreds of lighters in my collection I can say you don't have a clue what you're talking about! Don't spit out bullshit you know nothin' about!

Bobby T (author)2015-10-19

Very nice article. It seems you're really into the Zippo. I only wished you'd use bigger and better images to illustrate it. Only flaw I found.

albert.e.adams (author)2015-04-06

Soldier's life saved by a ZIPPO LIGHTER? Fact or Myth:
Nice video..
looks like it is very possible,and mind you in this video the second bullet hit the weakest point of the lighter..

mpapa7402 (author)albert.e.adams2015-09-26

have to ask the soldier if it saved his life or not!

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